Monday, January 16, 2006

Glory Days

I never liked Bruce Springsteen’s song “Glory Days” that much, even though I totally agree with the message, ‘cause it kinda creeps me out how some people tend to live in the past. When I hear the song, it just reminds me of all the crazy shit I did when was a kid, even though there were good times, like the time I ran for president of the junior class, and since I was sick with some sort of infection and in the hospital, my buddy Jim Knutson actually got up in front of those 500 students and read my speech. What a pal. And I can’t help but giggle when I think of the time I pulled my 1959 blue and white Ford Galaxie off the road on Mt. Tabor, into the bushes of the park, and commenced hot and heavy petting with a girl I had met at a party, only to be accosted some hours later by the sound of metal tapping briskly against the car window, a giant four D-Cell battery size flashlight, handled by one of Portland’s finest, who made me put my shirt on. A couple years later, when I heard that line in the Loggins and Messina song “Your Mama Don’t Dance”, which went ....“Out of the car, longhair!”, I could identify.

So you won’t catch me going on and on at dinner, or over a beer, about the good old days, but I do have to admit I like to write about it. In my daily life, I believe I am a “be here now” kinda guy, which of course follows since we live right next to the Dharma Rain Zen Center. Sometimes, when I am walking my two little white dogs past the open windows of the center, on a gorgeous Portland summer day, I think I should get involved with that church, start meditatin’, but going to that extent, I dunno, it seems kinda self indulgent. I have too many people and dogs and things to take care of to spend time meditatin’. But I do try to live in the moment, and I think it is important to try to remember to do that, to not always be playing “what if” in my mind. As I pass the center, and hear the chanting of the folks inside, it reminds me to breathe, to notice my breathing, and the wind in the trees, and the sun on my shoulders, and to remember the love of my wonderful wife, waiting for me with a cup of coffee and her warm laughter, when I get back home.

So forgive me for digressing to the time, playing touch football at the Atkinson Grade School park, when my friend Danny Roisom, one of the fiercest competitors I have ever met, was carrying the ball around his team’s left end, and as he reached me, and I went to touch him down, he rared back, and in a motion meant to look, I guess, like a straight arm, basically cold-cocked me with a right cross to the left side of my head. Of course I did not touch him down, and as he raced for the touchdown, I stood up, dazed and confused, and fully pissed, and called him out, which resulted in a very boring half hour, during which the much bigger Danny basically sat on my chest and slapped me around, until the rest of the guys were sick of it and wanted to get on with the game. And forgive me if I bring up the time, in Johnny Clement’s attic, in the seventh grade, while snuggling with Patti Eaton, I asked her if we might attempt the World’s Longest Kiss, to which she replied, “no thanks”. Maybe it was the pepperoni and onion pizza that Johnny’s swell Mom Alice had provided us earlier, with those killer homemade chocolate shakes she sometimes offered.

And forgive me for telling the story of my old band, The Morning Reign, and our appearance on the popular Paul Revere and the Raiders hosted TV show “Happening “68”, when, dressed in our groovy brown and tan blazers, we lip-synched and instrument-synched on national TV to our own rockin’ version of an obscure Standell’s song, “Can’t Help But Love You, Baby”. Having won a Northwest “Battle of the Bands”, we arrived in L.A. in the summer of 1968, did some sightseeing and recording, played a gig with “The BoxTops”, and appeared on the show. As you can see from the photo above, (that’s me sitting in the middle, bottom) we looked hokey enough, but we were runner’s up to the grand prize, which was a recording contract, and that was okay, cuz what we did each win (there were 6 of us) was samsonite luggage, a portable black and white TV, 3 power tools including a drill, a circular saw, and a jigsaw....which basically gave me my start learning how to build....a tomato soup colored portable record player, which, though dwarfed by an LP, also had an AM/FM radio, and some other prizes I can’t remember. The judges were Bobby Sherman, Brenton Wood (The Oogam Boogam Song, Gimme Little Sign), and this guy Sajid Kahn, an up and coming young actor, who apparently faded to “where are they now” status, but he was a nice guy, and they all entertained us with stories of their Hollywood lives as we each scarfed a hot dog, during a filming break, at the hot dog stand on the lot.

Being on “Happening 68” didn’t exactly make us famous, though we did get our picture in some fan mags, and TV guide. But playing with “The Box Tops”, that week, even though our "Beatles medley" sucked, was the best. Standing there, all young and naive and foolishly proud, in our groovy brown and tan blazers, signing autographs for a throng of teenyboppers in the parking lot after the gig, that’s glory days.

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